The lighthouse

One of the abiding memories I have are of the lighthouse on Kovalam beach in Kerala that I visited five years ago. Mom, dad and I reached the beach, wandered all over, spied the overpriced knick-knacks in the stalls, and watched the sunset. It was crowded and there were boats bobbing gently in the sea.

The red and white lighthouse looked majestic, surveying the entire expanse, the protector of seafarers who had lost their way. I got an urge to go to the top. But the lighthouse had shut its doors for the day and we retired to the hotel we were booked in instead.

The next day I headed back. I climbed the 150 steps to the top and arrived huffing and puffing. I was ready to pass out from the exertion but was also strangely elated. The view was breathtaking; I was battling vertigo and yet I felt like an achiever.

The day was sunny and all I could see for miles was the blue sea, the clear skies, birds, coconut trees and the hotels. I could see our room and saw mom and dad talking. I tried waving, shouting for them but the distance was too great. I sat down atop the lighthouse like the other tourists and just took in the view. It was peaceful and supremely calm.

In the night, I stayed up gazing at the revolving light emanating from the lighthouse, listening to the murmuring of the sea, beckoning lost souls just like me. I cried and cried that night, not knowing why. The hypnotic light was symbolic of life, cyclical, constant, serene…

Years have passed and I still remember the smells, sounds, the view of the lighthouse. I wonder if mom feels like what I did, when I was so close yet so far from them atop the lighthouse, waving and calling to them, but powerless to transcend the barrier. And yet I am sure she is at peace and knows that someday we will be together again, and will swap our stories just like I did on that day.

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